‘Escape artist’ breaks out of doggy jail in Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

‘Escape artist’ breaks out of doggy jail in Steamboat Springs

Mamba, pictured Wednesday at West Lincoln Park, is back with his owner after breaking out of the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter on Friday.

— A Steamboat Springs boxer-husky mix is in the doghouse after Steamboat police think he climbed out of his kennel and possibly opened three doors before escaping from the city's doggy jail.

Police originally were investigating the possibility Mamba's owner might have broken into the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter to steal back the dog. It now is clear that was not the case.

Officer Nick Bosick was called to the animal shelter Saturday morning after an employee noticed Mamba was missing. Mamba was picked up Friday afternoon because he was running loose downtown. Bosick learned that later in the day, the burglar alarm had gone off at the shelter. He then set out to find Mamba's owner, Sylvia Ballesteros.

Bosick went to the Dream Island Mobile Home Park in search of Ballesteros and instead found her brother. The brother chuckled as he told Bosick that Mamba always was getting his sister in trouble. He called Mamba an "escape artist" that once ran away after breaking through a mud room window.

Bosick went back to the animal shelter now thinking it was not a burglary, after all.

He found that the kennel Mamba had been staying in was not covered, and other dogs had climbed out of that kennel in the past. Bosick also found that the three doors leading to the outside of the shelter had levers that a dog theoretically could open.

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"After making these observations, I believed Mamba could have escaped on his own, which would have set off the security system for the shelter," Bosick wrote in a police report.

Bosick then spoke to the officer who responded to the burglar alarm the previous day. The officer said when he went into the shelter, he found signs of trouble. A ripped bag of dog food was on the floor, and two doors were ajar. The officer thought a dog had gotten out of its kennel, but he could not figure out which one. When Bosick told the officer that Mamba had escaped from the building, the officer said that as he was responding to the alarm, he did see a dog running down 13th Street away from the shelter.

When Bosick tracked down Mamba's owner at work, Ballesteros said she did not know Mamba had been taken to the shelter, and Mamba was home when she got back from work.

"Ballesteros explained a variety of situations she had experienced with the dog, including him chewing through a door and a steel cage in order to escape," Bosick said.

Ballesteros was given another ticket for having a loose dog.

On Wednesday, Ballesteros said it has cost her $60 every time she has had to bail Mamba out of doggy jail. She said Mamba has gotten to know a lot of people during his escapes.

"He practices at our home a lot," Ballesteros said. "He goes out, meets new people and then comes back."

Ballesteros said she understands why she was questioned by police. Although she said they did not specifically ask if she had broken into the shelter, she knew that was what they had suspected.

"They had to follow up on it because it's their duty," Ballesteros said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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